Visit these idylls for a taste of authentic island life, stunning natural beauty and beautiful Swahili culture.
About Zanzibar and Pemba Island
Zanzibar is not just one island, it is an archipelago of many islands that lie off the coast of Tanzania. Here you’ll find a heady mix of tropical island life and historic Swahili culture that has beckoned travellers for centuries.
Some of the most picturesque beaches are to be found on the north coast of Zanzibar. Here the sea is textbook turquoise, the beaches smaller and often more exclusive, yielding a wide and wonderful choice of snorkelling and dive sites within easy reach of all the hotels. Serious beach fanatics will head for the east coast which is lined with long white stretches of fabulous sands, the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean and a good variety of beach hotels.
Though development has been fast and dramatic along this coastline in recent years, many of the beaches are still practically empty of tourists, and traditional coastal village life continues unabated. As Zanzibar is a small island – 53 miles long by, at its widest point, 23 miles wide – these beaches are far flung enough to feel well castaway, yet they are still less than two hours’ drive from the airport and Stone Town.
The largest island beyond the main island of Zanzibar (or Unguja) itself, is Pemba Island, which lies 25 miles north east. A little smaller than Zanzibar and much, much less developed, it has superbly beautiful seas, world renowned diving and real tropical tranquillity. It is one of the most stunning islands on the whole African coast.
The beaches on Pemba are glorious and empty, and most of the many tiny offshore islands are uninhabited – even the roads are practically empty of traffic. Pemba is a fantastic retreat for the world-weary, and one of the most beautiful islands on the African coast.
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- Tropical island life
- Swahili culture
- Perfect combination with Tanzania safari
- Turquoise sea and white sandy beaches
Top Reasons To Visit Zanzibar & Pemba Island
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
Best time to visitZanzibar & Pemba Island
A beach-based holiday to Africa means beautiful sunsets and sun-soaked shores.
Zanzibar is warm year-round, with temperatures between 28°C and 34°C and plenty of hours of sunshine the norm. For guaranteed sun but without the stifling heat, one of the best times to visit Zanzibar and Pemba is from June to October during the cool, dry months of spring. Another popular time to visit this tropical island is from December to February when it’s hot and dry.
If your holiday is more activity based, namely scuba diving, you may want to factor this into the timing of your visit. There are two times that are particularly good to scuba dive off the coast of Zanzibar and Pemba; July and August and in February and March. Diving off the north coast of Zanzibar is good from June to October and off the south coast between November and March.
You may also want to combine your trip with a safari on the African mainland. We would recommend you maximise your trip and combine the two to get a mix of relaxation and adventure. You should check the best time to visit your intended safari and ensure it makes sense to add on an island trip, weather-wise.
Best time to visitZanzibar & Pemba Island
Our Favourite Camps & Lodges
Situated on Bweju beach, 20 kms of the classic palm trees & golden sand look, easy access to the reef and a zillion opportunities for activities or excursions of any sort.Learn More
20 kms of power white sand beach, which is rapidly attracting numerous plot purchases but for the moment, Breezes and its sister hotels, The Palms and Baraza, have an enviably uncrowded beach front.Learn More
Fanjove Island is for those that want to relish the unspoilt beauty, not to say fantasy of life on a minute gem of a desert island.Learn More
Fumba cannot be faulted! It’s hoovered up all the best bits of beach hideaways and is one of our favourite places.Learn More
Matemwe Lodge is basically for couples who are looking for a bit of exclusivity, but not too much gloss. It suits those who enjoy high standards, even flare, but also admire character.Learn More
The location of Mnemba is so spectacular that virtually any elaboration in terms of accommodation risks gilding the lily.Learn More
Pongwe is an unpretentious and laid-back place to stay with sun, sand and sea being the main luxuries supported by a genuine friendly service.Learn More
Shooting Star is a great little owner-run hotel set in a tropical garden a few metres above a beautiful white beach, just north of Kiwengwa, on Zanzibar’s East coast.Learn More
If you’re looking for real exclusivity on Zanzibar, then it doesn’t come much better than the The Palms. There are quite a few hotels that profess this level of luxury, but few that can deliver to this standard.Learn More
Zanzibar & Pemba Island (FAQS) NEED TO KNOW
What are the best things to do on Zanzibar and Pemba Island?
Though renowned for their relaxed vibe, you will never be short of activities or things to do on either of these magical islands. If you’re looking for water-based activities, you can embark on snorkelling and diving trips. Pemba is famous for barracuda, tuna, shark, and even whale sightings. You could also take a boat trip to Misali Island, the neighbouring hotspot for further water activities.
In Zanzibar you can visit Stone Town to soak up the local culture and atmosphere, pick up some spices at Darajani Market, watch sunsets on the beach or at a rooftop location and enjoy the wonders the place has to offer at your own leisure.
Is Zanzibar safe for families?
Tourism forms a strong basis of income for Zanzibar, so the local authorities and local businesses take the safety of holiday makers very seriously and treat guests with respect. As with all holiday destinations, it’s important to stay aware and follow your intuition, but Zanzibar is very safe for families holidaying. Pay respect to local traditions and cultures and be aware of any religious events to mitigate any potential miscommunications.
What is the accommodation like on Zanzibar and Pemba Island?
The accommodation on both islands varies from high-end to more humble price points. If staying on Zanzibar, we would recommend the north coast, Stone Town, and the east coast. If staying on Pemba Island we recommend anywhere coastal (mostly resorts or hotels) as you will most likely be heading into the water to dive and snorkel during the day.
From our Travel Guides
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Our second unforgettable trip with Natural High, hopefully not the last!
Fantastic Christmas trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar, organised at very short notice. Wonderful staff at every camp, an unforgettable family experience. …
Claire & George
Outstanding customer service well above the call of duty.
Natural High arranged a trip to remember …accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioni…
Personal service and excellent organisation
This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days…
Ken and Caroline
Fantasic Natural High
Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!…
Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT
Fantastic Natural High
Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!…
Natural High nailed it again
Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attentio…
Fantasic Natural High
We are repeat customers and NH never fail to deliver an exceptional trip. They understand exactly what we want to experience and tailor the adventure …
Ruth Maxwell AH
Enjoyed EVERY second of an action- packed two weeks in Kenya. Asante Sana👏
This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on – the three cam…
Julie Baxter VJ
Fantasic Natural High
They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions….
Morroco was a pleasant surprise
This was certainly not our first trip with natural high. As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well…
Don and Bernice Willoughby RT
The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been vi…
Susan And Russell Holdsworth VJ
Everything went smoothly and selection of accommodation was perect for us
Excellent, no problems…
Fantastic Kenya 🇰🇪 Safari thanks Vanessa
We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservati…
David Poninghaus VJ
Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vaca…
Very helpful and accomodating
Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice …
Phenomenal Safari which will certainly stay with us for years to come
Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throug…
Matt & Lucy Worthy RT
First class. Experts in the holiday adventure field. Great to deal with
First class! Natural High are experts in their field. All the boxes are ticked which leaves you to travel without any worries. Excellent destinations…
Perfect family Safari!!
Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to ou…